Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sad News From Washington

Sad news from up north this Sunday morning. Via text message and Facebook I was told the person you see on the left in the photo passed away yesterday.

Geff Hinds is the name. Pretty much the most creatively talented person I have ever known.

In the photo Geff is walking on a trail in Zion Canyon National Park. An overnight stay in the Zion Lodge was part of the most complicated road trip I ever executed.

Four days of Lake Powell Houseboating, floating to Rainbow Bridge, a scary descent down the Moki Dugway, overnight at the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, caught in a blizzard in a log cabin on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, three nights in Las Vegas, overnight at Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley and a sidetrip into Yosemite National Park.

It was due to Geff that I learned how to make websites. Soon after returning home from the Lake Powell houseboating trip all who were on that boat got connected to the Internet. This was back in 1994. Soon we were emailing maniacs.

Back then the World Wide Web was real slow. Geff discovered it first, via something called Netscape. Geff early on saw that this newfangled WWW thing was really gonna be something. I just found it to be real slow. One day I got an email with a link to a website.

Mud Sluts.

Geff had figured out how to make a website using this thing called HTML. Geff's Mud Sluts was all about mountain biking. Mud Sluts was soon named Cool Site of the Day. Back then being Cool Site of the Day was a very cool thing. Soon thereafter Geff made another website called Lulu & Durango: As The WWW Turns.

As The WWW Turns was soon picked as Cool Site of the Day.

Soon thereafter I was summoned to Gig Harbor, told  that Geff had something for me. That something turned out to be a logo graphic and the HTML for a website called Dialing Doctor Durango. Geff showed me how HTML worked. He made it look simple. But it was too much like doing math for my simple mind.

So, I quickly found an HTML editor called Hot Dog, which basically made making webpages easy. Soon I was churning out material. Dialing Doctor Durango never was a Cool Site of the Day. But it did get picked to be Funky Site of the Day.  Doctor Durango got questions from all over the world. That is how I met Singapore's Wee Cheng.

One day I was informed that a German university had listed Dialing Doctor Durango as one of the Top Ten medical websites on the Internet. That was soon followed by a serious medical question from the UK.

People not getting that I was not a legitimate doctor, that it was a satiric type website, was perplexing. So, I killed Dialing Doctor Durango and morphed it into The Durango Files.
Soon after moving to Texas I killed The Durango Files.

It was with Geff I went on my first mountain bike ride on an actual real mountain trail. I can not remember if it was before or after that the Mud Sluts name came to be. But, that's what Geff's biking group was called.

Mud Sluts.

A couple years after houseboating Geff arranged for a group of Mud Sluts to journey to Moab. I had wanted to do that ever since New Years Day of 1994, when I was at Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and saw mountain bikers far below. I said right then when I get back home I'm getting myself a mountain bike. And then come back here. And so I did, making it back in late March of 1996, if I remember right.

On that return to Moab, in addition to mountain biking, there was hiking the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.

Depending on what trail was being biked the group of Mud Sluts ranged from a dozen or so to the group of seven you see below, at the trailhead for the brutal Porcupine Rim Trail. I had no idea what I was getting into. The trail starts with about a thousand foot elevation gain, reaching an incredible view of the valley far below. And then the ride is basically a downhill bumpy roller coaster for miles. I don't think I'd ever been so exhausted.

That would be Geff, second from the right, with me third from the right. Geff and I shared a fear of heights. The Porcupine Rim Trail put that fear to a test.

On that Moab trip we also biked the Slick Rock Trail. Well, actually, Geff and some of the Mud Sluts biked the whole trail. It was too difficult for me. I bailed after a couple miles. We also biked the Gemini Bridges Trail. That was an easy fun one, but it required some logistical maneuvering due to the trailhead being a long ways from the trail's end.

During the 1990s I rolled my wheels many miles with Geff, all over Washington and Oregon, in addition to the one Moab mountain biking trip.

I have one Geff memory that sort of haunts me. On the last day of Lake Powell houseboating, heading across Bullfrog Basin to return the boat to the marina, Geff said something like "When can we do this again? Can we really wait a whole year to do this again?"

Now for me, I was real happy to get off that boat, and was a bit surprised that Geff was ready to do it again. But, I was back houseboating on Lake Powell four years later. I don't think Geff ever made it back. Hard to believe that that first Lake Powell houseboat float was 22 years ago.

Thanks for all the good memories, Geff.....


lulu said...

Thank you Dean. If you have any pictures of Geff & i , I would love to have access to them. L

Durango said...

I have several with you and Geff in them from that houseboat trip. Including a good closeup one in Death Valley when we were suffering that flat tire incident. There may be some from that Gemini Bridges bike ride and Fiery Furnace hike.

Patrick Hayden said...

Geff was one of those people who raised themselves, and more or less invented who he wanted to be. I miss him.